Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for 40 years.
We have two daughters in their thirties.
Fortunately I was a housewife mom, and my husband was a busy doctor. Although we were busy, we never missed any sporting or school event our girls participated in.
We traveled, we gave them every chance in life, and they had a wonderful childhood.
Or so we thought.
The youngest told me last night that she had some “childhood trauma” (she couldn’t give me an example) for which she would be undergoing treatment.
She also told me that her older sister told her that her childhood was horrible.
My senior in the past was very disrespectful and rejected both my husband and I. She never gave a reason for her position.
She is the mother of our only grandchildren who we adore.
Could it be me and her father wrong?
I am so devastated. ideas?
– Mom is completely confused
Dear mom: There seems to be something wrong with your ideal family, but your angry daughters aren’t ready – or willing – to shine the light on things for you.
You say that the daughter who reported childhood trauma cannot give you an example of what you are referring to.
I say she is not ready. This may be because you and your spouse are used to denying problems, explaining things away, or hiding things.
Your other daughter is disrespectful and dismissive, but she refuses to explain why.
You would expect both daughters to explain their words to you, but they may lack the words, or the means, to penetrate your beautiful family’s facade in order to describe their experiences and feelings.
They may have had a traumatic experience with a neighbour, family member, or children at school. Perhaps they felt afraid, lonely, or judged harshly.
Parents need to make sure their children understand that they can fail, fall, and have problems – because that’s what it means to be human.
This is a humble experience for you. I suggest that you start framing your fears towards them, personally – as opposed to affecting you – and offer to go into therapy with all of them, as soon as they are ready.
Dear Amy: My wife and I keep a clean house. It is our sanctuary!
We live in a different country than the majority of the family. My cousins have made it clear that they expect to stay with us as house guests while they visit our area.
This particular family chooses to live in miserable conditions.
They have four young children whose morals and behavior are also quite a challenge.
We don’t think this family will change the moment they cross our doorstep.
Others say we should accept their hosting. The theme seems to be that we must make a sacrifice and deal with the agonizing guests of the house, for that is exactly what you do when it is of your own flesh and blood.
My position is that it is unfair to make us villains for wanting to avoid the experience of hosting these people in our home.
Imagine that you are stuck in the role of policeman/maid for several days! What I see here is a recipe for resentment – certainly ours and maybe theirs too.
What are our options?
How would you respond to family members who suggest we would be tepid to deter potential guests?
Dear Toshi: For people who have taken a hard line, you and your spouse seem especially vulnerable to other people’s opinions.
I don’t know of many families that could easily accommodate a family of six for several days.
Regardless of your abilities, you are unwilling to host this family.
You do not need to provide reasons.
You don’t need to explain yourself.
You must be willing to appear inflexible or undignified to whomever will judge your choice.
If the family wants to visit your city, you can search for homes nearby for short-term rent. It would be nice to spend time with them and host them for a few meals.
Dear Amy: In response to “overwhelmed”, who was struggling to clean her mother’s apartment, when my father died, my sister and I took things that were sentimental and/or helpful.
Then the church ladies sold an entire house.
It took three days and it was a happy event for them.
They kept all proceeds, the only condition being to leave the house completely empty.
Dear Mini: This is genius!
(You can email Amy Dickinson at email@example.com Or send a message to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter. Tweet embed or Facebook social networking site.)